“What She Did Not Do” by Pam Herbet Barger

Pam Herbert Barger


But for a parking space
she would have gone to watch the monks,
their stillness in the midst of mandala-making
an antidote to the double espresso
quickening her blood—

espresso as response
to frigid late-October air,
friends, tallgrass, song sparrows,
even lying right down on the
skin of the turning planet.

She did not mourn lack of serendipity.
Parking space, no parking space.
Monks, no monks.
Is one outcome better?

It’s not that she set out
to do any one thing.

What she did not do, however,

cannot be called

from Rattle #36, Winter 2011
Tribute to Buddhist Poets


Pam Herbert Barger: “A seventh-grade teacher’s talk on Eastern thought stirred my initial interest in Buddhism, and by my early twenties I was fairly certain that enlightenment was just around the corner. Now in my final trimester of life, I find quiet fulfillment in many Ways—writing, music, gardening—and mostly that’s good enough for me.”

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